With Sen. Joe Manchin killing any new climate legislation in order to serve his West Virginia coal masters and to fill his own pockets, the last shot we have at any meaningful action on global warming would be an emergency executive order. According to the Washington Post, President Biden could announce a nationwide climate emergency as soon as this week, something that will almost certainly be blocked within days by Republicans in court.
President Biden is considering declaring a national climate emergency as soon as this week as he seeks to salvage his environmental agenda in the wake of stalled talks on Capitol Hill, according to three people familiar with the matter who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the private deliberations.
The potential move comes days after Sen. Joe Manchin III (D-W.Va.) told Democratic leaders that he does not support his party’s efforts to advance a sprawling economic package this month that includes billions of dollars to address global warming. If an emergency is invoked, it could empower the Biden administration in its efforts to reduce carbon emissions and foster cleaner energy.
Two of the individuals with knowledge of the discussions said also they expect the president to announce a slew of additional actions aimed at curbing planet-warming emissions. The exact scope and timing of any announcements remain in flux.
“The president made clear that if the Senate doesn’t act to tackle the climate crisis and strengthen our domestic clean energy industry, he will,” a White House official, who requested anonymity to describe the deliberations, said in a statement late Monday. “We are considering all options and no decision has been made.”
Jared Bernstein, a top White House economic adviser, emphasized to reporters at a news briefing earlier in the day that Biden would work “aggressively fight to attack climate change.”
“I think realistically there is a lot he can do and there is a lot he will do,” Bernstein said.
Top aides to Biden are debating the best course of action as another punishing heat wave has descended this week on the central United States, and as a similar weather pattern is breaking temperature records across Europe. Many Democrats have called on the White House in recent days to use its powers to address global warming as hopes for congressional action have faded.
“This is an important moment. There is probably nothing more important for our nation and our world than for the United States to drive a bold, energetic transition in its energy economy from fossil fuels to renewable energy,” Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) told reporters Monday.
Citing the impasse, Merkley added: “This also unchains the president from waiting for Congress to act.”
It is unclear how, exactly, Biden plans to proceed if he opts to declare a climate emergency, which Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) urged him to do just days after the president took office last year.
Some climate activists have urged the White House in recent months to deploy an emergency declaration to maximum effect, arguing that it would allow the president to halt crude oil exports, limit oil and gas drilling in federal waters, and direct agencies including the Federal Emergency Management Agency to boost renewable-energy sources.
But the president faces a tough balancing act as he seeks to calibrate his response to a warming planet with the recent economic reality of high gas prices. The policies could aid in Biden’s quest to halve U.S. emissions by the end of the decade compared to 2005 levels, though they still fall short of what Biden aimed to enact through his earlier economic plan, known as Build Back Better.
Any new executive action on climate also could face a formidable court challenge, which could affect the future of environmental regulations. Last month, the Supreme Court cut back the federal government’s powers to regulate power plants’ carbon emissions.
1) Joe Manchin remains a colossal asshole, and the sooner we can relegate him to powerlessness by picking up 2 or more Senate seats in November, the better.
2) Biden at this point needs to go for broke. Republicans are going to be screeching about "Biden's Green New Tyranny" no matter what measures he actually includes. He won't get any credit for trying from DO SOMETHING Democrats, either.
3) Having said that, not a single word of Biden's emergency order will ever take effect, because it'll be blocked by Trump judges up until the Roberts Court can fast track it and dispose of it next June, and that will be the end of any meaningful climate change measures by the US.
4) The rest of the world is not going to tolerate US inaction on fighting climate for much longer.
We'll see where this goes, but I have little reason to believe that any Biden executive action on climate will survive the courts in 2022.